(Part 5) The #1 Teaching Tool I Cannot Live Without
Grand Finale Focus Activity
Today’s Grand Finale Focus Activity is a special post that concludes my blog series “The Number One Teaching Tool I Cannot Live Without.” I have prepared for you not just 1 but 2 videos!
I’m super excited to feature a video by my fellow Texas colleague and a dear friend, Dorothy Yan. In this video, Dorothy shares one of the “Brain Warm-up” activities that she presented in her session “Engage the Brain: Cognitive Warm-Up for Effective Music Lesson” at MTNA National conference a few years ago.
In fact, her session had such long lasting impacts that one of the teacher who went to Dorothy’s session a few years ago asked me about Dorothy’s works in last month’s MTNA conference. The teacher still vividly remember Dorothy’s presentation and commented on how much she enjoyed these activities and how she has been applying them in her own studio.
In “Engage the Brain: Cognitive Warm-Up for Effective Music Lesson”, Dorothy compares the mental game of sports to the mental game of the music and highlights the importance and benefits of the Dalcroze eurhythmics “Brain Warm-up” activities.
Dorothy’s Thumb Tappers
How it Works:
- Subtract each number by 1 (excluding number 2). After the mental subtraction, 3 2 4 3 5 3 becomes 2 2 3 2 4 2
- Variation: Add each number by 1 (excluding number 5). After the mental addition, 3 2 4 3 5 3 becomes 4 3 5 4 5 4
Catch the Ball, Catch the Rhythm
– Rhythm is caught, not taught
Have you ever struggled to get the rhythm just right when you tried to play a tricky passage on the piano? Instead of drilling and practicing repetitively, why not stepping away from the piano and trying to “Catch the Ball, Catch the Rhythm?”
Watch this 2nd video that features this smile-guaranteed focus activity “Catch the Ball, Catch the Rhythm. Are you ready to feel the rhythm with your whole body, catching the ball and singing along to the music?
The music in this video is Monkey Blues from Piano Safari. The rhythm is tricky because there is a rest on beat 1. With some help from the bouncy ball, the student will surely say proudly: “I’ve got rhythm.”
One tip for younger students: try rolling the ball on the floor instead. Sit across from the student and roll the ball back and forth on the beat(s) of your choice.
More Focus Activities for You to Enjoy
Why is “focus activities” my TOP teaching tool? The answer is simple. When a student is focused and engaged, the lesson is much more productive. Without student’s attention, even with the best lesson plan, very little can be achieved.
If you miss the previous posts, click here to see more
Please make sure to leave me a comment or feedback if you would like to see more activities. I have also prepared my Top Five Focus Activities for download, remember to subscribe to my blog and get the file instantly through your email.
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The activities are Dalcroze based and always require creative, quick and spontaneous reaction from the student. If you would like to learn more about Dalcroze Eurhythmics, please visit American Eurhythmics Society website. I regularly attend their workshop and always have an amazing experience each time.